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The combined goals of recruiting and retaining effective teachers are often difficult to realize due to fluctuating student enrollments and class-size targets, teaching-load norms or requirements, and budgetary and resource constraints. While schools and districts market and recruit bright new teachers to the field, they too, struggle to maintain enticing career development standards that would retain the most effective teachers in the district (Guirano, Santibanez, & Daley, 2006). With the high turnover in schools, student achievement suffers. Teacher attrition has grown by 50% over the past fifteen years. The national teacher turnover rate has risen to 16.8%. In urban schools, it is over 20% and, in some schools and districts, the teacher dropout rate is actually higher than the student dropout rate. School districts fall into a chronic cycle of hiring and replacing teachers whereas the funding to develop effective teachers is financially strained (NCTAF, 2003). Human Resources is challenged by the startling facts of staffing highly effective teachers in hard-to-staff positions.

Although states are beginning to take action to recruit and retain skilled teachers, few of those efforts are directed at finding teachers for the students who need them most (Atwell, 2007). Considerable research supports that poor and minority students are more likely to be taught by teachers less qualified as compared to teachers in more wealthy schools and fewer minority students (Carroll, Reichardt, & Guarino, 2000, Darling-Hammond & Youngs, 2002). Urban schools nationwide educate approximately 40% to 50% of the students who are not proficient in English, about 50% of minority students, and 40% of the country’s low-income students (Council of Great City Schools, 2000). The report continues to explain that compared to other districts, the urban districts are competing for quality teaching staff while serving students with lower academic achievement scores, greater dropout rates, and a larger population of special needs students to serve in the classroom. The challenge to recruit and retain quality teachers has encouraged many districts, particularly urban districts, to develop strategic recruitment efforts, hiring practices, and retention programs.


Published in International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, 6(4), October-December 2011. Used by permission. The original version can be found at